Rosella jam is made from the fleshy red calyx and bracts that surround the green seedpod of the plant. Harvest the crop before it becomes tough and the seedpod discolours. You will need to half fill a 9-litre bucket with rosella fruit for the following recipe. Rosella seedlings are available through local nurseries from September onwards in the subtropics or during the dry season in tropical regions. Six home grown plants will provide plenty of fruit for several batches of jam. Individual plants grow around 1.5m high and 1m wide. They are very decorative shrubs that could be grown for their ornamental value alone.

1/2 bucket freshly picked rosellas
●  3-4 cups sugar (use more or less according to quantity of fruit available)
●  1 green apple, peeled and chopped
●  1 cup water
●  Juice of one lemon (not Myer variety as it contains insufficient pectin)

Making rosella jam typically involves separating the red fleshy calyx from the central, green seedpod. I find this slow and laborious, so the method outlined below avoids this step. Using more mature fruits can result in stringy jam, but this method also allows you to use all types of fruit because any tough or stringy pieces will be strained out. Wash the rosella fruits thoroughly and place them and the peeled and chopped apple into a large, heavy based saucepan. Add about one cup of water, put the lid on the pot and leave to simmer. Check regularly to ensure that the rosella fruits do not stick to the bottom. If so, add a little more water, but not too much or your jam will be runny. Your aim is to allow the rosellas to simmer away gently, so that the flesh separates from the green seedpods without splitting the pods open and releasing the tiny white seeds inside. This stage takes about 15-20 minutes. Strain the hot mixture through a colander or sieve, making sure that the holes are small enough to keep the seeds that break out of the seed pods separated from the jam. Measure or estimate the number of cups of rosella/apple pulp you have made and add an equal amount of sugar. Add the lemon juice and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the jam well set (about 20 minutes). Removing any froth that forms on the top of the jam will give a clearer result. Transfer into clean, warm jars.

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